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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Sunset on 25 January will be at 4.37pm, with light for walking until 5.05pm.

Greater Anglia £10-20 Day Return Offer, online only, e.g. Walton-on-the-Naze is £15. Buy 'till 9 Feb.

SWC Trips 2020: Brecon 7-11 May, Scotland (Roybridge) 16-23 May, Snowdonia 25-28 September (see walk posts below). Peak District tbc.

Bluebell shoots and the greening of the verges: see Nature Blog

Friday, 25 September 2020

September in Snowdonia (25-28 September)

As a first, the SWC will be making a long weekend excursion to Snowdonia, North Wales. The weekend will be based in Beddgelert, a charming village in the shadow of Snowdon with immediate access to some interesting hills. The routes will be map-led and as with the Scottish trips one needs to come prepared for high mountain terrain and the risks associated with it.

Beddgelert is accessible by public transportation -- train to Bangor and bus. Accommodation in the village is available in various pubs, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. For further information, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Scotland: Roybridge

Plans are afoot for the SWC 2020 trip to Scotland during the week of 16 May to 23 May 2020.  We have secured a combination of properties in the small highland village of Roybridge (about 13 miles from Fort William). The area has walks of all abilities. For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Brecon Revisited: 07-11 May

Up to 4 days of walking in the westerly and central parts of the Brecon Beacons, while avoiding travel on the Bank Holiday and the weekend:

07/05 Thursday -- Arrival
08/05 Friday (Bank Holiday) to 10/05 Sunday – 3 out of these 4: SWC 278 Brecon Beacons Horseshoe (or possibly SWC 285 Fan Dance) from Storey Arms Bus Stop, SWC 279 The Black Mountain, SWC 307 Fforest Fawr Traverse and SWC 308 Bwlch Circular, each with a second option of a less tough walk: SWC 85 Pen y Fan and Corn Du, SWC 86 The Black Mountain (Short) and SWC 280 Henrhyd Waterfall (Bluebells galore). Exact sequence of walks dependent on bus schedules.
11/05 Monday -- SWC 306 Brecon Circular (from 5 to 22 km) and Departure

Public transport-based travel options are as follows:
·        Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43 from the bottom of Station Road,
·        Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
·        Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6 from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]. 

[Advance train tickets can already be booked on the GWR website!
For Abergavenny book trains to/from Newport (Wales), the connecting train is run by a different company and can be booked on the day.]

Friday, 28 February 2020

Albion at Almeida Theatre

In the ruins of a garden in rural England, in a house which was once a home, a woman searches for seeds of hope.
Following a sell-out run in 2017, The Telegraph’s "Play of the Year" returns to the Almeida for just 30 performances.
Mike Bartlett’s (King Charles III) “richly layered” (The Guardian) state-of-the-nation play is directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold (Ink, The Hunt).  Victoria Hamilton (The Crown) reprises her “extraordinary” (The Times) performance, for which she won Best Actress at the 2018 Critics’ Circle Awards.    
Tickets are already limited.  To book, please click here.  Pre-theatre F&B will be posted in due course

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Sunday Walk – The Darent Valley between Eynsford & Shoreham

Extra Walk 59c – Eynsford (Short) Circular
Length: 14 km (8.7 miles), with longer afternoon possible (see * below). Toughness: 4/10

10:12 Sevenoaks train from Blackfriars, calling at lots of stations in south London and arriving Eynsford at 11:05.

Alternatively, take the 10:25 Canterbury West train from Victoria and change at Bromley South (arr 10:41, dep 10:48) for the train to Eynsford.

Trains back to Blackfriars are half-hourly at xx:11 & xx:41; change at Bromley South if you want to return to Victoria.

This is a straightforward walk in the Darent valley, southwards along its eastern flank as far as Romney Street and then across an abandoned golf course to the pretty village of Shoreham. This has four pubs competing for your custom so you should be able to get lunch at one of them without difficulty, but pick one and call ahead if you want to be sure of a table.

* The standard afternoon route is along the valley floor back to Eynsford, but if your New Year's Resolution calls for something a little more strenuous you could try the longer afternoon route (option d, an extra 2 km) up the western flank of the valley and along the top of Lullingstone Country Park.

If you want a mid-afternoon stop the standard route passes a café in the Country Park Visitor Centre. Both routes pass a nice tearoom by the river in Eynsford, but if you want to celebrate the end of a dry January there are several pubs nearby.

You'll need to bring the walk directions from the Eynsford Circular walk page. Clicking 'Short' in the Walk Options heading (or the line for options c or d) will hide the directions for the longer walk options via Otford.

A Sunday Saunter through rolling Oxfordshire Countryside and a Wetlands Nature Reserve

SWC 292: Islip Circular (in reverse) t=swc.292

Distance:  10.8 miles or 17.4 km for those more metrically minded with shorter options available – see walk instructions

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:35AM Oxford-bound Chilterns Railway train from London Marylebone, arriving at Islip at 10:28.  Return trains are at 16:28 (change at Oxford Parkway); 17:18; 19:18 and 21:17. Buy a day return to Islip. 

In addition to gently rolling landscapes and picturesque villages, one of the real highlights of this walk is the Otmoor Nature Reserve, a favorite haunt for various birds of different sizes and shapes. In fact, the main reason for doing the walk in reverse is to have some time towards the end of the walk to explore the reserve without feeling the need to rush on to lunch. According to a blog for the reserve, the starlings have already moved on – but, there are record numbers of other birds enjoying the wetlands of the reserve….so bring your binoculars and a flask (hip or thermos) and enjoy the action…..before the final stretch back to Islip (which takes about 40 minutes).

You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here. As we will be going in reverse, a print-out of the map or download of the GPX will be helpful.

The recommended lunch pub on the main walk is the Abingdon Arms in Beckley (01865 655667) a popular community-based pub, serving excellent food.

Back in Islip, tea and other bevies can be had at the Red Lion on the High Street.

Enjoy the walk and bird watching!

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Saturday Walk Wind Down in the Wild West on the Day After

SWC 178:  Oxshott to Ashtead (or Epsom) t=swc.178

Distance:  12.1 miles or 19.5 km for those more metrically minded (with options to shorten suggested in the instructions)

Difficulty:        3 out of 10 

Transport:       Take the 10:03 AM Guildford train from London Waterloo (Clapham 10:12), arriving in Oxshott at 10:37. Return trains from Ashtead are at 17; 27; 48 and 57 past the hour and from Epsom are almost every 10 minutes. By a day return to Effingham Junction.

This walk has a very wild and remote feel, despite being a short journey from London. It explores various heathlands and woods and passes through the Princes Coverts….From the Oxshott station platform, you are transported almost directly into open heathland with largely sand soil….More information about the walk and the instructions can be found here

Lunch:  The recommended lunch stop is the Star (8 miles/13.1 km into the walk). 

Tea: In Ashtead, the Woodman is recommended and in Epsom, the Cricketeers Inn is suggested.

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday walk - Birchington to Herne Bay or Whitstable

Length: 14km (8.7 miles) to Herne Bay with possible extensions to 18km (11.2 miles) to Swalecliffe, or 21km (13 miles) to Whitstable T=3.28
Toughness: 1 out of 10: almost entirely flat

9.40 train from Victoria (9.57 Bromley South), arriving Birchington-on-Sea at 11.17

You can also do this journey by high speed train, but it is only 8 minutes quicker and costs more: but if this is more convenient for you, get the 9.25 from St Pancras Southeastern platforms, arriving Birchington at 10.54.

Buy a day return to Birchington-on-Sea

This makes a lovely winter outing along the sea and potentially entirely mud free. Wearing trainers would be probably be OK - but see ** below for one bit where there maybe some minor mud. It has to be said that in the rain, particularly driven on strong west winds, this walk would be pretty wretched, however.

The walk first skirts around some bays with low chalk cliffs, and then crosses the wild marshes that in Saxon times were the Wantsum Channel, cutting off the Isle of Thanet. You are on firm seafront paths throughout this section, and you have the picturesque ruin of Reculver church straight ahead as your aiming point.

If the sun deigns to shine, the light on the marshes is beautiful. Offshore you can admire three windfarms - the nearby Kentish Flats (the first windfarm built in the Thames Estuary, which is directly offshore from Herne Bay); the huge London Array, which is far out to sea over your right shoulder (so long as visibility is reasonably good), and the Thanet farm directly behind you beyond Margate.

Walk directions are largely unnecessary, as you are following the seafront path. Right at the bottom of the walk's home page is a section entitled "From West to East" which has very brief instructions to get you from Birchington station to the seafront (a distance of about 300 metres). Once in Herne Bay head directly inland on the road leading away from the pier to get to the station (800 metres, about 15 minutes walk). If you really need a GPX file click here, and for a map click here.

Lunch is at the very competitively priced King Ethelbert Inn, just beyond Reculver. Ditch ideas of gastro food when coming here: it is good honest pub grub (possibly appropriate for this significant day in our nation's history...).

After lunch, you can either stick to the seafront promenade or (recommended) arc up onto the grassy top of the seaward slope to your left for much better views: on this section ** there may be a little mud, but only a little.

In Herne Bay, the recommended tea spot is Makcari's - not the one on your left before the clock tower, but the much nicer one after the clock tower in the former bandstand. Just beyond this is the stump of Herne Bay pier: note its original ending, which is visible far out to sea: until the Second World War it was one of the longest piers in the country, designed to allow paddle steamers to moor at all states of the tide.

If you want to extend the walk you can carry on along the seafront for another 4km (2.5 miles) to Chestfield and Swalecliffe station, or 7km (4.3 miles) to Whitstable. See the walk's home page for refreshment options on this section. The map or GPX would be useful for getting you to the station at the end of these walks (Whitstable station being particularly awkward to find)

Trains back from Herne Bay are at 20 past the hour to Victoria, 44 past the hour to St Pancras.

Trains back from Chestfield & Swalecliffe are at 24 past the hour to Victoria

Trains back from Whitstable are at 27 past to Victoria and 49 past to St Pancras.

Saturday Walk Tring Circular or on to Berkhamsted

Tring Circular or on to Berkhamsted T=2.5

Length: 16.3km (10.1 miles), five hours walking time. To Berkhamsted 20.6km (12.8 miles).
4 out of 10
Although featured on Wednesdays & Sundays quite recently, it hasn't had a Saturday outing for some time.

"The first part of this route - following the Ridgeway along the Chiltern escarpment to Ivinghoe Beacon - is exhilarating, offering downland scenery as fine as anything on the South Downs. From the Beacon itself, it seems as if you can see half of England on a fine day. Then, by way of contrast, you are plunged into the ancient beechwoods of the Ashridge Estate. "

A Berkhamsted variation: After the pub, take an alternative route, carrying straight on along the Chiltern Way, eventually picking up the directions on Berkhamsted Common by going leftwards rather than a right turn towards Tring. This is shorter than the written up route.

Trains: Get the 0934 Tring train from Euston arrives 1017 (Harrow & Wealdstone 0946, Watford 0955). There is also a train to Tring from East Croyden (to Milton Keynes) with various stops in London but the timings mean either a wait or a later start. Frequent return trains.
An oddity of these lines is that Harrow & Wealdstone is the zone 6 boundary.

Lunch: The Bridgewater Arms in Little Gaddesden, tel 01442 842 408, located 11.2km (7 miles) from the start of the walk. For a picnic, you need to stop before the turn off to the pub.

Tea: For Tring: The excellent Valiant Trooper pub in Aldbury is well worth a stop. For Berkhamsted: "I love Food" at 25 27 Lower Kings Road and 200m or so past the station is recommended by Pete B.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Wednesday Walk Gerrards Cross to Cookham - Bulstrode Park, Burnham Beeches and the River Thames

Book 1, Walk 40 - Gerrards Cross to Cookham

Length: 15.4 km (9.6 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (a bit more if muddy)

London Marylebone: 10-13 hrs       Aylesbury service
Arrive Gerrards Cross: 10-32 hrs

ReturnCookham to Paddington, changing at Maidenhead:  15-15, 16-15, 17-32, 18-03 and 18-38 hrs
Marlow to Paddington, changing at Bourne End and Maidenhead: 17-18, 17-47, 18-24 and 18-54 hrs
Maidenhead to Paddington: regular trains (seven an hour)

Rail ticket: as the two stations are on different lines you cannot buy a return ticket for the full walk. Buy separate single tickets from and back to the boundary of your travelcard.

Today's walk has plenty of variety - parkland at the beginning,  then woods and a nature reserve as you make your way to Littleworth Common, where you have a choice of two good pubs for your lunch stop:  the Jolly Woodman and the Blackwood Arms, at either end of the Common.  Alternatively, stop for a short drink at the Jolly Woodman then continue on the walk to Cookham, where you take a late lunch at the excellent Kings Arms (recommended for those going "long" to Marlow or Maidenhead - see below).

After Littleworth Common, you walk through more woods and pass below the Church of St Nicholas perched on a hill above you. Then you head down to the River Thames and on into Cookham.  If you wish to extend your walk, you can do so - either across fields to Marlow, adding 3.5 miles, or beside the Thames with views of Cliveden and on into Maidenhead, adding some 4 miles to your walk (reversing the start of SWC 56 - Maidenhead to Marlow, the Wednesday walk on 18 December 2019). Otherwise, you can stop for tea in Cookham before your twenty minute walk to the railway station for your journey home.
Your Walk Directions are here: L=1.40

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Sunday Walk: Chesham Circular

Book 2 walk 4 (variant)
11.8 km 7.3 miles  Difficulty: 3/10
A walk in the Chilterns. Sweeping views, big trees. Not too long.
There isn't a straight run on the Metropolitan line today. Get the Jubilee Line (10:10 from Baker Street) to Wembley Park and change there for the 10:33 Metropolitan Line to Chesham, arriving at 11:14. Use Tfl's Journey Planner to plot your own connection.
Trains return at xx:27 and xx:57, changing at Wembley Park.
A zones 1-9 travelcard will do you.
Lunch:  the Bell Inn, Chartridge 01494 782 878.
Tea: Several places are listed. The Drawing Room in Frances Yard 01494 791 691 is a favourite - usually open till 5 on Sundays.
Directions: You need two sets of directions. You follow the main Chesham to Great Missenden directions (on the “Download Walk” button) as far as point [4] and the directions on the “Chesham Circular option”  button thereafter.

Sunday Walk - Hayes Circular + Whyteleafe to Hayes (SWC 38) in reverse or parts thereof

Length: 22.6 km (14.0 mi) [Shorter Walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 344/293m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¼ hours, Toughness: 5 out of 10

Take the 09.33 Hayes (Kent) train from Cannon Street (London Bridge  09.37, then all stations via New Cross, Lewisham & Catford Bridge), arrives Hayes (Kent) 10.15
For the shortest option, the Hayes Circular, take a train an hour later.
Return trains from Whyteleafe: xx.07 & xx.37 (Tulse Hill train, change at East Croydon for Thameslink services or for Victoria). [There are no trains from Upper Warlingham today.]

Commons, ponds, woods, Iron Age structures and hills, all in Oyster Zones 5 & 6.
(Pick up the Whyteleafe route where the two walk routes cross)

Walk Options:
·        Walk just the full SWC 281 Hayes Circular (9.3 km)
·        After lunch in Fickleshole, turn down to New Addington for a tram to East Croydon station (cut 3.5 km), directions to be found in the pdf of SWC 38, or reverse-walk the alt. start from Addington described there

Lunch: The White Bear (15.4 km/9.6 mi, food all day) in Fickleshole, or any of 3 pubs in Keston  (after about 6 km) on the Hayes Circular only option.
Tea: I haven’t a clue.

For  walk directions, maps, height profiles, some photos  and gpx/kml files click here and here. A tailor-made gpx file for the posted route can be found here. [Right-click and ‘Save Link As…’]

Stargazer is away…